Manchester United 3-0 Olympiakos: United exploit the space in the inside-right channel

March 19, 2014
Manchester United 3-0 Olympiakos: United exploit the space in the inside-right channel

Manchester United qualified for the European Cup quarter-finals, becoming only the second side to recover from a 2-0 first leg deficit.

David Moyes surprisingly brought Ryan Giggs into the centre of his midfield, used more direct options on the flanks than in the weekend defeat to Liverpool (Juan Mata was cup-tied) and Rio Ferdinand started alongside Phil Jones.

Michel was without Michael Olaitan – who is thankfully OK after collapsing in a recent league game – upfront and therefore played Joel Campbell as the lone striker and used Diego Fuster on the right. Otherwise the side was unchanged from the first leg.

The match itself wasn’t particularly interesting – tension came from the fact Manchester United had lost the first leg 2-0, and a late ‘consolation’ goal (on the night) would have sent Olympiakos through on away goals. But on the night, the reality is that Manchester United were comfortably the better side in a standard 3-0 win. Read more »

Manchester Utd 0-3 Liverpool: Rodgers plays a diamond midfield, Liverpool win easily

March 17, 2014
Manchester Utd 0-3 Liverpool: Rodgers plays a diamond midfield, Liverpool win easily

Liverpool were dominant throughout the match, and could have won by a few more goals.

Chris Smalling was a late withdrawal so Nemanja Vidic returned at the back, but otherwise David Moyes named his expected XI.

Brendan Rodgers replaced Coutinho with Raheem Sterling at the top of the diamond instead, and he switched his full-backs – Glen Johnson returned to the right, Jon Flanagan moved to the left.

Liverpool were in control of possession throughout the game, and gradually forced United mistakes. Read more »

Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal: Arsenal grind out a win

March 17, 2014
Tottenham 0-1 Arsenal: Arsenal grind out a win

Arsenal went ahead within two minutes, then sat uncharacteristically deep for the remainder of the game.

Tim Sherwood made four changes from the side that lost to Benfica, with Nacer Chadli in the number ten role and Nabil Bentaleb returning to the side.

Arsene Wenger named his expecting starting XI, in a 4-3-3 shape with Mikel Arteta as the holding midfielder.

Spurs had plenty of possession, but failed to find an equaliser. Read more »

Milan 0-2 Juventus: Milan play well, but Juventus show ruthlessness upfront

March 7, 2014
Milan 0-2 Juventus: Milan play well, but Juventus show ruthlessness upfront

Clarence Seedorf’s Milan played extremely well – but couldn’t translate their dominance into goals.

Seedorf changed no fewer than six players, despite winning 2-0 at Sampdoria last time out. Mario Balotelli was still unavailable.

Juventus were without Arturo Vidal through suspension and Giorgio Chiellini was only fit enough for the bench, but otherwise Antonio Conte’s line-ups was as expected.

Milan were superior for long periods, but lacked combination play and reliable finishing upfront – in stark contrast to Juventus, Read more »